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Latest research supports anomalistic abilities !

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

It is always fascinating when new a piece of research on the authenticity of mediumship is published. Often, this research is a single study comparing the evidential content of a mediumship reading with some decoy reading containing Barnum statements and other generalities. The idea being that the intended recipient when presented with both readings should select the mediumship reading as being more relevant and reflective of evidential communication.

As I am sure you can appreciate, the results of such studies are strongly dependant upon the the design of the experiment, the experience of the medium and any researcher biases, and so these studies often produce inconclusive or mixed results supporting and rejecting anomalistic abilities in the medium.

However, occasionally instead of conducting an experimental study, researchers will decide to conduct a literature review or a meta-analysis and publish the results. These are useful because they provide an overall summary of what the current literature or results of experiments are telling us about a given topic.

For example, recently the results of a meta-analysis looking at all available experimental mediumship studies between 2001 to December 2019 was published in the Explore journal.

The researcher searched numerous scientific databases for published articles detailing experiments conducted with mediums and those investigating the accuracy of information anomalously received (aka mediumship!) by mediums about deceased individuals. Then the researchers took all the results from these studies (n=18) and using a statistical techniques determined on balance what the results are saying. Before I go into the result of this meta-analysis. It is necessary to point out that for any meta-analysis to be meaningful it is important that the researcher includes in their analysis all articles they find regardless of whether they support or reject a given position. Otherwise, it would be very easy to arrive at a final result that supports a particular position, not only is this not good science but also totally unethical.

Having reviewed the meta-analysis I am satisfied that the researchers have indeed included all relevant articles over this time period, including some quite scathing of mediumship!

So what did the researchers conclude?

"The results of this meta-analysis support the hypothesis that some mediums can retrieve information about deceased persons through unknown means"

The researchers are concluding that the combined results from scientific experiments conducted over the past two-decades, support the hypothesis that some mediums are able to receive information about deceased individuals even when normal modes of communication (and deception) are controlled for.

Two things to note here:

(1) though the researchers accept the possibility of mediums receiving information about deceased individuals, they stop short from saying where the information is coming from. In other words they don't say mediums are receiving information about deceased individuals from the deceased individual.

(2) the researchers also state 'that some mediums can retrieve information'. What did they mean by that? Reading their article, the researchers seemed to find that mediums that held mediumship awards or accreditations with professional bodies seemed to fair better in the experiments when compared with mediums that do not hold any awards or accreditations. The researchers do not provide conclusive explanations for this.

Even with these limitations this is certainly good news and a step in the right direction in giving further credibility to Spiritualism and mediums.


Sarraf, M., of Menie, M. A. W., & Tressoldi, P. (2020). Anomalous information reception by mediums: A meta-analysis of the scientific evidence. EXPLORE.

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